They say that every story is ultimately about a girl. Mine is no different. My life has been defined--for better or worse--by the pursuit of love. What follows is a collection of true stories that happened in my quest for happily ever after.
I won't try to tell them all at once, because I doubt any of you have the time to read 400 pages of meandering prose in one sitting. So I'll dole them out one at a time. Some are funny, some are sad, and some are just plain embarrassing.
Note: The tale I’m about to tell is easily one of the most embarrassing events of my life. I’m ashamed at the way I acted, and honestly can’t believe this was ever me. But…it’s part of my story, and since for me writing is about being honest, I’m going to tell it. Hopefully it’ll make you laugh.
The Worst First Date Ever
Every little girl fantasizes that her Prince Charming will one day come along on a white horse, sweep her off her feet, and ride off into the sunset living happily ever after. As far as I know, these daydreams of fairy tale romance don’t usually involve the prince urinating on their floor.
But when your Mr. Right is a 29 year old man-child with crippling emotional issues, all bets are off…
I met Maria in January of 2010. We’d gone to high school together, and I remember thinking how beautiful she was even then. She had long brown hair, big doe eyes, and a smile so magnificent that it kind of hurt a little to see it…like getting punched in the stomach and not quite being able to regain your breath. But we didn’t run in the same circles, and I had a girlfriend at the time, so we’d never actually spoken.
I was killing time at work one afternoon by doing some light Facebook stalking when her name appeared on my chat list. It had been just over a month since my last girlfriend dumped me, and not quite three years since my wife Sarah passed away. So to say that I probably wasn’t ready to meet the girl of my dreams would be an understatement. Still, I was lonely, and she was gorgeous. The combination of these powerful forces was too much for my tiny brain to handle.
I did what any right-minded man would do in that situation—I made up a bullshit reason to start a conversation. I think it was something about how much I loved her profile picture. It was an awesome picture, so I wasn’t exactly ‘lying,’ but since no one starts a random conversation about profile pics with a girl they’ve never even said hello to, I doubt I was fooling anyone.
We flirted back and forth via Facebook for a couple of weeks, and eventually I got her number. I can’t remember the reason she gave for giving it to me, but I didn’t waste any time. That night, aided by a little liquid courage, I sent her the following text: “Yes, I’m using your number already…I figured you should have my digits on speed dial in case you ever need a lawyer.”
Looking back, I don’t know why she even talked to me. I’d started one conversation with a lame compliment, and another one with a lame joke. But she went for it, and after spending another week flirting via text, and then a week after that talking on the phone, we finally got together on a cold Wednesday evening shortly before Valentine’s Day.
We were supposed to grab dinner and watch a basketball game at a bar in town called Group Therapy. I'd dressed the part, wearing jeans, a navy blue blazer and a white button-down shirt. But I decided to go to happy hour with my guy friends beforehand. In retrospect, this was my first mistake. At that period in my life, even though I didn’t consciously realize it I was still reeling from the loss of my wife, so I tended to go a little overboard with my drinking. By the time Maria showed up somewhere around 7, I was on my second pitcher of beer, four or five Car Bombs deep, and was already pretty close to blacking out. Sounds like the start of a bad date, right? Trust me, it gets worse.
Instead of turning around and leaving right then and there, which would have been completely justified, Maria decided to play along. But after about fifteen minutes of small talk, it became apparent that in my drunken state I wasn't going to offer to buy her a drink, so she went to the bar and got one for herself. A short time after that it also became obvious that I had forgotten about dinner, and was more interested in drinking with my friends than paying attention to her, so she called a friend to come keep her company while I ignored her.
Around 11 p.m., after I hadn't spoken to her for more than an hour, Maria walked up to me to say goodbye. She was tired, she was hungry, and she was absolutely fed up with me. In her words, she was 'done.' But when she saw how drunk I was, the compassionate side of her took over and she took me back to her place--not because she wanted to, but because she was worried I might die if I attempted to drive home.
Upon stumbling into her apartment, I promptly passed out on her couch. Since I was dead to the world, and she’d just gone on what she would later describe as the ‘worst first date ever,’ she went back out to get some food. When she returned, I was still asleep so she went to bed.
A while later, I woke her up by clumsily crawling into bed with her. I don’t know if this was in an attempt to sleep with her or if I was just looking for a warm place to lay my head. But in any case I passed out again as soon as I hit the pillow. I was still wearing all my clothes, and I didn't even make it under the covers, but by that point she was exhausted, so Maria rolled over and went back to sleep.
Then, sometime in the middle of the night, I peed on her floor.
She woke up to what sounded like a cup of water being poured on the ground. It took her eyes a second to get acclimated to the darkness, but when they did she couldn’t believe what she saw: me standing in the doorway, pants at my ankles, somehow still sleeping as I unleashed a stream of urine on her hardwood floors. The apartment was slanted, so as the liquid hit the ground, it began to roll back towards me, collecting at my feet and soaking my jeans.
She didn’t scream, or throw a shoe at my head. In fact, she was so mortified that she couldn’t speak or move at all. She just sat there and watched in horror as I relieved myself, the anger and bewilderment inside her causing her to lapse into a state of temporary paralysis.
When I finished, I stepped out of my jeans and boxers, and walked out of her room. I was now naked from the waist down, but still had on my shirt and blazer. Maria assumed I must have been going to the bathroom, but a while later when I still hadn’t returned to bed, she began to wonder where I’d gone. She looked around the apartment for me several times, but was unable to locate me.
About that time, her roommate, Gail, came home and asked how her night had gone. Maria was in the process of recounting her disastrous evening when they finally found me...
It seems defiling one bedroom hadn’t been enough, so after I finished peeing, I climbed—half naked, mind you—into her roommate’s bed, where I proceeded to cover myself with blankets and put pillows over my head, as if I was waiting to jump up and scare someone like some kind of semi-nude boogie man.
(I can only imagine how things would've played out if Maria had been sleeping when Gail came home and went to bed only to find a random man there, wearing a suit jacket and no pants. I must've looked like a well-to-do flasher.)
Realizing I was missing some clothes, Maria asked Gail to leave the room and woke me up. I took umbrage, and gave her an attitude when she asked me to go back to her bed. How she resisted punching me in the face in that moment I’ll never know.
The next morning I woke up in her bed with no recollection of anything that happened. In fact, I didn’t get all the details until exactly one year later, but that’s another story. Maria wasn’t in bed with me, so I got up and groggily attempted to get dressed. Just one problem…I couldn’t find my pants. I walked out into the living room to find her lying on the couch.
Me: “I can’t find my pants.”
Her (angrily): “Ha. Funny story about your pants…”
I cut her off mid sentence. “Look, I don’t care, ok? My head is pounding, I have to call my job, and I can’t find my pants.”
She got up, retrieved my jeans from somewhere in her room, and tossed them at me. At that point, I should’ve known something had gone horribly wrong, but it was early, I was still half-drunk, and my brain clearly wasn’t functioning properly.
I put on the urine soaked denim, which by this point had dried and was uncomfortable to wear. I wondered what had happened, but didn’t ask since the only thought going through my head at the time was ‘don’t vomit.’
She took me to my car and we said an awkward goodbye. Still, I’d woken up in her bed, so I assumed things had gone pretty well. As I drove home, I sent her the following text:
“Had a great time last night. When can I see you again? J”
An hour or so later, I received her response. It was a numbered list of reasons why she would never go out with me again, and it was so long that it took four separate texts just to send them all. I don’t remember exactly what they said, but let’s just say the general theme was: REALLY?!?! She ended the onslaught by saying if I ever grew up into an adult, to give her a call.
In that moment, I was crushed. This is a girl I’d wanted since I was 17, and when I finally got a shot I acted like the biggest jerk on the planet. She was right; I didn’t deserve her. Hell, I didn’t deserve anyone.
Tail between my legs, I replied simply that I understood where she was coming from, that I was sorry for my behavior (even though I still didn’t know the full extent of it), and added that I was genuinely interested in her, but since Sarah had passed away every time something good came my way I had a habit of sabotaging it for some reason. I apologized again, and said goodbye.
Then the most amazing thing happened…something for which I will forever be grateful. A few minutes after that, I got this simple, glorious message: “Ok…well try harder next time then. Pick me up next Thursday at 8. DON’T be late J”
For all of my idiocy, all of my self-destructive behavior, I somehow still had a chance. And for a girl as amazing as she was, I was sure that a chance was all I needed.